[-empyre-] ambiguous artistic strategies & critical engineering

xDxD.vs.xDxD xdxd.vs.xdxd at gmail.com
Sun Feb 12 09:57:34 EST 2012

hello there!

On Sat, Feb 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM, Julian Oliver <julian at julianoliver.com>wrote:

> .'ve talked to several artists that have expressed disempowerment in this
> age of
> database automation, google maps, wireless networking, the Cloud etc -
> technologies that shape how they live and even their practice yet they
> find no
> entry point to dissassembling and thus critically engaging them. It's not
> enough
> to talk about how we are influenced by all this engineering - technology
> that
> becomes social, political and cultural infrastructure - this leaves us in
> little
> better position. It must be engaged it directly to understand the
> mechanics of
> influence. This is the difference between a topic (technology) and as a
> material
> (engineering).

this is all very similar to issues coming up related to funding and

you might find parallels among the two: technology/networks and finance.
 in both take place different parts of "the crisis". in both "solutions"
are sought

the confrontation with "engineering" in the way you point it out is very
similar to the complexity of writing a heavyweight funding proposal (let's
say a FP7 EU proposal)

enormous opportunities, enormous complexities, very specific languages and

and, most of all, the *necessity* to coordinate (in one of the infinite
possible ways) numbers of people toward concrete goals.

this last one, in my experience, is the biggest obstacle  to overcome.

> Most that receive this email will have little or no idea how it arrived to
> their
> inbox, unable to accurately describe it to another, not even close. At the
> same
> time most would be able to describe how a postcard arrived at their friends
> mailbox. Just 15 years..

are you sure you know how a postcard is delivered? it's pretty complex!

Ignorance as to how these engineered infrastructures actually function, what
> they do and what is done with them behind their own presentation, is
> actively
> being abused both inside and out of democracies.
i would go even beyond that, and say that it is a mutual feedback between
complexity and organization: these systems/processes are complex in ways
that require organized coordination which only large, formal, hierarchical
organizations have.

critique to these models fails (up to now) in being able to confront with
such power and effectiveness.

small/temporary liberated spaces/processes, together with mobility,  are
(up to now) the best option. also seen the fact that "hacking" is being
assumed by "power" as a methodology itself, and becoming integrated in
corporate schemes.

yet there is space for liberations_through_complexity: it's actually full
of opportunities if you are able to give different readings to things.

all the best!

Art is Open Source

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